Tuesday, October 25, 2011

LGBT groups press Aquino gov’t: Comply with treaties before UN human rights review

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists submitted to the United Nations two scathing reports on the human rights violations against LGBT people in the Philippines.

In the first report titled “The Status of LGBT Rights in the Philippines, Submission to the Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review 13th Session,” the groups Rainbow Rights Project (R-Rights) and the Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch (PLHCW) co-authored a documentation of different abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the country since 2007.

The other document “A Report on Violations of Human Rights Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Philippines” was authored by the Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay).

The complaints add to the many NGO reports submitted to the UN Human Rights Council as an alternative source of data to the official government report that the Aquino government is submitting for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2012. The UPR is a process where the Council examines each member state for its implementation of human rights treaties. The 2012 review is the second time the Philippines will come under the scrutiny of the council.

The RRights-PLHCW joint report scored MalacaƱang’s snub of the Anti-Discrimination Bill in Congress already pending for twelve years and its refusal to make a stand on resolutions against anti-LGBT violence in the United Nations General Assembly last year. President Aquino’s opposition to adoptions by LGBT couples also took a direct hit. It was also noted that the Supreme Court did not protect the rights of transgender persons to have their identities respected in birth and travel documents.

Reighben Labilles of the Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch highlighted the long string of murders and violence committed against LGBT Filipinos and the lack of comprehensive action of the Philippine National Police to solve these crimes.

Germaine Trittle Leonin, founding president of R-Rights, said the LGBT civil society report also aired the gross lack of health care services to the sector. The report lamented the tragedy that intersexed Filipino infants face later in life when their true sexuality comes in conflict with the sex that midwives and doctors assign to them. Also included in the shopping list of medical horrors is the infamous video scandal inflicted by a government hospital in Cebu on a gay patient.

The ProGay report zeroed in on the discrimination suffered by LGBT students in schools and lesbian workers in farms and factories. ProGay decried the violent use of pellet guns against transgender women in Cebu City.

The reports made a list of recommendations that the activists are putting forward to the government, such as:

  • define and prosecute hate crimes targeting LGBT people and provide victims with access to courts
  • develop educational programs for health workers regarding sexual orientation and gender identity
  • provide support to transgender persons in surgery, health care costs, and mental health care management in relation to transitioning to the preferred sex
  • equalize the rules of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for adoption by LGBT couples
  • include LGBT issues and projects in national and local Gender and Development (GAD) desks and offices
  • compel schools to respect free expression of gender and dress by LGBT students, and actively prevent bullying by other students and faculty
  • include LGBT rights and the Yogyakarta principles in the mandate of the Presidential Human Rights Commission and the National Human Rights Action Plan

Oscar Atadero, the human rights documentor for ProGay, explained that the council will draft a list of recommendations called the Concluding Observations, which the global community expects the Philippine government to accept as its obligations to implement in order to address shortcomings in implementing human rights conventions. ###

Contact: Reighben Labilles 09179714096 / Germaine Trittle Leonin 09277852892 / Oscar Atadero 09995331065

Friday, October 21, 2011

DOH Set New Implementing Guidelines for RNHEALS 2

Implementing Guidelines for Learning & Deployment of 
Nurses under RNHEALS 2

Doh Rnheals 2

Voices and Choices in SRHR: The Reproductive Health Bills in the Philippines

The International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University
(ISS/EUR, The HagueNetherlands),
the Psychosocial Support and Children's Rights Resource Center (PSTCRRC),
and the UP Center for Women’s Studies (UPCWS)

cordially invite you to the public forum

Voices and Choices in SRHR:
The Reproductive Health Bills in the Philippines

Speakers and topics
Prof. Elizabeth A. Pangalangan, Director of UP Law Center Institute of Human Rights
History and the Current RH Bills in Congress and Senate
Dr. Sylvia Estrada Claudio, Director of the UP Center for Women’s Studies
Advocacy and Legalization for RH Bills
Ms. Lady Lisondra, Asst. Youth Coordinator, Family Planning Organization of the Philippines
Youth and the RH Bill


25 October 2011 (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm)
at the Audio-Visual Room (AVR Ground Floor)
College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD)
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
For inquiry, kindly contact: UPCWS at 9206880, 9206950/ PSTCRRC at 3766388


Health Groups Claim Victory on P600M Additional Budget for Hospitals, Vow to Continue the Fight

The Coalition for Health Budget Increase (CHBI) claims its initial victory in the fight for higher health budget when the House of Representatives approved on its October 11 final reading the P200M addition to DOH budget and P400M for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation Hospitals for 2012.

“Our efforts to expose the ill effects of low health budget paid off. But while we recognize this initial victory as a result of the people’s efforts through the support of pro-health lawmakers, we see that we need to exert more effort to effect  a more substantial increase,” said Jossel Ebesate, president of the Alliance of Health Workers. AHW is a member of the Coalition.

The increase brings the budget of DOH to P42.893B. Sources from the House of Representatives say that out of the P200M increase to DOH budget, P100M will go to  East Avenue Medical Center, P50M to Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, and P50M to Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

The GOCC hospitals, namely Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, and Philippine Children’s Medical Center, will get additional P100M each.

“We proved once again that organized action is necessary to push for our rights,” Ebesate said. 

“We are very much thankful for the support of lawmakers like Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino, Gabriela Women’s Party List Rep Emie De Jesus, ACT Party List Rep, Antonio Tinio, and other pro-health congressmen.”

Ebesate expressed dismay over the DOH officials’ position to make do with the limited budget and promote Public-Private Partnership and PhilHealth as sources of funds. This stand of DOH was verbally expressed all throughout the health budget hearings in the House of Representatives.

The health groups vowed to continue the protest actions to push for P90B health budget.#

Jossel I. Ebesate, AHW National President, Mobile number: 0918-9276381
Robert T. Mendoza, AHW Secretary-General, Mobile number: 0932-4649757

Monday, October 17, 2011

No Approval of Nursing Training Programs if not Accredited, DOH Memo

A new memorandum was released by the Department of Health dated October 04, 2011 strengthening its former memorandum regarding the closure of nursing volunteer/training programs. 

DOH Nurse Volunteer Termination Elucidation